Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, is one of Asia’s most exciting places to visit. Those who have gone to Ho Chi Minh City say that this bustling city has so much to offer and is worth visiting at least once or twice in your lifetime, and we agree with them.
Here’s why we think Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as others would call it, should be on your bucket list.
1. Ho Chi Minh City has a long and colorful past.
A walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City will tell you that it went through a lot to be what it is today. It was once under French rule and you would still find European architecture scattered throughout the city, reminiscent of the French colonial times. The Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Central Post Office are two attractions that best reflect the period’s grand architecture.
Other historical sights in Ho Chi Minh City you wouldn’t want to miss are the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace. In the War Remnants Museum, you would find photographs, military equipment, weapons, and documents that remind visitors of the ills of war, particularly the Vietnam War. Though not for the fainthearted, a trip to the museum would delight history buffs.
The Reunification Palace, just a stone’s throw away from the War Remnants Museum, is a prominent historical landmark in Ho Chi Minh City. The palace was once the home of the President of South Vietnam and its capture by People’s army of Vietnam in 1975 marked the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.
2. Vietnamese food and coffee are amazingly good.
We have written about awesome Vietnamese food and coffee are and we can say the same about the food and coffee in Ho Chi Minh City. Whether you are a coffee-lover or not, never ever miss having a tall glass of Vietnamese iced coffee from Saigon’s street vendors. Vietnamese iced coffee is cheap, richer, and tastes so good.
As for food, well, you will never go hungry in Saigon, even if you’re travelling on a shoestring budget. You just have to find a street vendor or a market stall that sells pho, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls. But really, the Saigon food scene has so much to offer that you wouldn’t have a problem finding food – cheap or not – to delight your taste buds.
3. Ho Chi Minh City nightlife is vibrant and energetic.
Although Ho Chi Minh City is home to many high-end bars and pubs, Pham Ngu Lao street is where the real action is. Considered the heart of Saigon’s backpacker district, Pham Ngu Lao is the place to be if your intention is to eat, drink, and be merry. People flock to Pham Ngu Lao for the cheap drinks and food and it can get so busy that you will have to make do with outdoor seating on low stools.
4. Massages and nail treatments are cheap in Ho Chi Minh City.
If you’re idea of relaxation is having a massage and getting your nails done, then Ho Chi Minh City is perfect for you. You can have decent massages, manicures, and pedicures for as low as $5 at any of the spas at HCMC’s backpacker area. And you know what’s even better? These spas are open until the wee hours of the morning so you wouldn’t have a problem fitting in late-night pampering into your itinerary.
5. Ho Chi Minh City has many expert tailors.
If you’re done with wearing off-the-rack suits in your home country, then you’ll be delighted to find out that just like Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City is home to many talented, professional tailors. You can expect high-end tailoring and quality materials from the city’s top tailors and all you need to do is bring a picture of the design that you want and show up for the required number of fittings.
Planning to travel to Ho Chi Minh City anytime soon? Save time and meet new people by joining any of our Ho Chi Minh City group tours.
By: Brendelyn Balaga